Political Animal


November 27, 2012 3:37 PM The Very Last Ditch

By Ed Kilgore

Perhaps it’s a testament to the size and breadth of Barack Obama’s victory on November 6, or maybe it’s because so many conservatives were stunned by MItt Romney’s failure to win by a landslide, but the acceptance of the president’s re-election by U.S. conservatives has been surprisingly widespread. So far almost no one has charged Obama “stole” the election through voter fraud, and conservatives are already looking forward to 2014.

Ah, but in some of the more exotic precincts of the Tea Folk, post-election resistance has been hardier, as evidenced by this report from Idaho by Betsy Russell:

A state senator from north-central Idaho is touting a scheme that’s been circulating on tea party blogs, calling for states that supported Mitt Romney to refuse to participate in the Electoral College in a move backers believe would change the election result.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, sent an article out on Twitter headed, “A ‘last chance’ to have Mitt Romney as President in January (it’s still not too late)….”

Turns out Nuxoll received her inspiration from an article by our old buddy Judson Phillips, who staged the wacky National Tea Party Convention in 2010 that gave Sarah Palin a nationally televised speech opportunity.

The article, by Judson Phillips, a former Shelby County, Tenn., assistant district attorney and founder of Tea Party Nation, posits that if 17 of the 24 states that Romney carried refuse to participate in the Electoral College, the college would have no quorum, throwing the presidential pick to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
The problem with that, [Boise State University law professor] Adler said, is that it’s based on a misreading of the 12th Amendment, which notes when no candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College, the decision moves to the House, where each state would have one vote and a quorum of two-thirds of the states would be required. “The two-thirds reference in the 12th Amendment is a reference not to the Electoral College but rather to the establishment of a quorum in the House of Representatives,” he said.

Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And this effort is a reminder that accepting Obama’s election does not necessarily connote acceptance of the legitimacy of his administration, as Sen. Nuxoll indicated:

She said, “I think it is very, very sad that we elected our current president, because he is definitely not following (the) Constitution. He is depriving us of our freedoms by all the agencies, and so … what I’m thinking is the states are going to have to stand up for our individual rights and for our collective rights.”
Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Josef K on November 27, 2012 3:55 PM:

    Sen. Nuxoll: I think it is very, very sad that we elected our current president, because he is definitely not following (the) Constitution. He is depriving us of our freedoms by all the agencies,

    Exactly how did he do that?

    The fact this twit is still free to walk about the streets and spout this...stuff...indicates our freedoms are all still in force. But then, I'm just going by objective reality here.

  • Peter C on November 27, 2012 4:11 PM:

    We need a 50-state strategy. Idiots like Sen. Nuxoll should never run unopposed.

  • c u n d gulag on November 27, 2012 4:15 PM:

    Yes, you poor, poor, white Conservatives - "He is depriving us of our freedoms by all the agencies..." by being a Black Moderate Democrat.

    Yeeesh, what a bunch of whining white @$$holes!

  • Bokonon on November 27, 2012 4:17 PM:

    Yes, Ms. Nuxoll ... it is terribly sad that a majority of your fellow citizens voted for a candidate you didn't like. But that's called "representative democracy". As an elected official yourself, I am surprised you aren't OK with that concept.

    And ... because you find the results so awful, now you want the losing minority to nullify the presidential election? Through the electoral college? By having its members break their public trust and refuse to represent the will of the voters that they are supposed to reflect?

    Wouldn't overturning election results through these sorts of bad faith manuvers threaten those same "freedoms" you talk about with such intensity?

  • Joyce on November 27, 2012 4:54 PM:

    Having known an elector in the Electoral College, I can tell you another misconception. The electors meet at their state capitols, not in Washington. No quorum issue.

  • T2 on November 27, 2012 4:55 PM:

    apparently Nuxoll hasn't been informed that the GOP disowned Romney about 10 days ago.

  • MuddyLee on November 27, 2012 5:02 PM:

    She better hope that Obamacare is fully implemented so she won't have any problems getting all the mental health insurance coverage she needs.

  • g on November 27, 2012 5:13 PM:

    Never mind for a minute how far fetched her scenario is, think of what it would be like in this country if what she's wishing for would happen.

    Can you imagine Romney accepting? And if he did (which I give the man the benefit of the doubt, he wouldn't), just how do you think he would be able to govern?

    And do you think the rest of the country would just sit down and let it happen?

    These idiots fearmonger about the supposed destruction of America because we've elected and re-elected a moderate black man - what do they THINK would happen to this country they profess to love if something like her scenario played out?

  • Citizen Alan on November 27, 2012 5:43 PM:

    And if he did (which I give the man the benefit of the doubt, he wouldn't), just how do you think he would be able to govern?

    Not very well while swinging from the end of a rope. Filth like this Nuxoll hag underestimate how many liberals in this country are also gun owners (not to mention what percentage of the enlisted military voted for Obama). And she seriously underestimates just how many of us already think that people like her are traitors to this country and should be treated accordingly, if necessary with whatever violence the situation demands.

  • Rand Careaga on November 27, 2012 6:41 PM:

    @Citizen Alan: Suppose we leave the eliminationist rhetoric to the righties, hmm? They're better at it.

  • Perspecticus on November 27, 2012 8:50 PM:

    She said, I think it is very, very sad that we elected our current president, because he is definitely not following (the) Constitution. He is depriving us of our freedoms by all the agencies, and so what Im thinking is the states are going to have to stand up for our individual rights and for our collective rights.

    To coin a phrase, "LOL, whut?"

  • jpeckjr on November 27, 2012 9:29 PM:

    This effort is a reminder that Tea Partiers and the people who vote for them are effing stupid-asses with mashed potatoes for brains.

  • castanea on November 27, 2012 10:21 PM:

    Awhile back I found a saying that describes the entirety of the rightwing in America:

    "No amount of logic can shatter a faith
    consciously based on a lie."

    I'm sure we all have crazy friends or relatives who believe beyond all doubt that Obama is a socialist, for example, despite their inability to articulate exactly what socialism is, or why it is bad.

    It's the same with Obama's "violation" of the Constitution. In the reality-based world, such a violation does not exist. In the world of the lunatic rightwing, it is gospel.

    Blind adherence to easily disprovable lies is a hallmark of the Christianists and the GOP in modern America. I'm sure that future historians will inspect the ruins and conclude that America crumbled because of the idiocy and the ignorance of a large chunk of the population.

  • stratplayer on November 27, 2012 10:54 PM:

    This woman is a freakin' state senator and expresses herself like a rather dim 7th grader. The Republican Party may be a joke, but it is a very dangerous joke.

  • G.Kerby on November 28, 2012 12:36 AM:

    Very true StratPlayer.

  • Leopold von Ranke on November 28, 2012 2:57 AM:

    I always thought shutting down the asylums in the sixties was a really bad idea, even with all of their problems. Perhaps Ms. Nuxoll could be given thorazine. A lot of thorazine. And maybe Mr. Nuxoll (if there is one) could be convinced to lock it in the basement.

  • Anonymous on November 28, 2012 4:15 AM:

    The Tea folk love the Constitution so much that they must destroy it to save it.

    Because removing a duly elected President is not anti-democracy, nope not at all. The people somehow mis-spoke, I'm sure that's it.

  • berttheclock on November 28, 2012 6:16 AM:

    @Peter C, as to your well intentioned 50 state strategy, all well and good, but, this lady won election in a very Red district with 64 per cent of the vote. In fact, the other two elected Republican officials running in that district won with 64 and 67 per cent of the vote. It is a rural agriculture, rather poor area. Nuxoll's freedom rant has to do with her opposition to the ACA and the Individual Mandate. Couple that with her Tea Party gripes about government regulations and her belief that the Public Sector is expanding and taking away private sector jobs fits with many of her ranching cohorts in the area. Tough nut to crack for any Democratic politician. The irony of this is ACA will really help those citizens in her district. However, another aspect to her opposition is she is a strong conservative Catholic, whose son just became an ordained in Rome priest. This Gonzaga grad bookeeper turned rancher's wife is typical of that misguided wing of the Catholic faith. The true shame of this was that wonderful land of the Nez Pierce was over run by carpetbagging government haters, who benefited by the government opening the land to them and, now, oppose any government.

  • enn bee on November 28, 2012 12:34 PM:

    Senator Nuts-all is such a pitiful dead-ender. Note the irony of not even understanding their so-important-and--to-be-strictly-construed US Constitution!

    Maybe it's a scheme to make money for the tea-potted operatives, per "milk-eym became."

  • Rick B on November 28, 2012 6:43 PM:


    "Blind adherence to easily disprovable lies is a hallmark of the Christianists and the GOP in modern America"

    Actually blind adherence to an easily disprovable lie is the hallmark of all evangelical fundamentalist organizations. It's a central part of the meme that creates, maintains, and expands the organization. You will notice that both the Southern Baptist denomination and the Mormons strongly encourage a period of evangelicalism. That's a classic brainwashing technique for bringing in new members. There is a good psychological reason why Moonies used to proselytize in the air ports.

    Part of the meme is to sell everyone on the idea that expanding the organization is the measure of success. More members means you belong to a successful organization. Every new member you bring in becomes a personal success, and each such success hardens your own belief in the truth of what is being taught. Becoming an evangelical conservative or libertarian are similar cults.

    You may have seen the interview with Romney when he said that before he went on his mission he was not a strong believer in Mormonism.

    Belonging to a successful organization also lowers an individuals social anxiety. That's why fundamentalist beliefs proliferate during times of massive social change.

    I suspect, but don't know for a fact, that the massive social change of WW II was similarly alleviated by the draft where so many were sent through basic training and the civilians were propagandized into supporting the war effort. That, in my opinion, would have been the social core that created the "Greatest Generation" - and which the hippies were rejecting in the 60's. The corporate group-think of the Greatest Generation simply made no sense to their children who had not gone through the period of social anxiety followed by success when they joined the nation and fought back.

    As I said above, I cannot prove this last paragraph, but I watched it happen since I was born during WW II.

  • Rick B on November 28, 2012 7:46 PM:


    Excellent post! You show why I have been writing for several years that the modern American conservative party is a party of the rural, low-populations density area. If you look at this U.S. map of the election results by county (blue for Democratic majority, red for Republican) you will find that the Republicans dominate the low-population density counties and the Democrats dominate the high-population density counties. The Democrats are the urban party and the Republicans are the rural party. The exceptions are similar to South Texas which is basically politically controlled by Hispanics who the Republicans have actively rejected.

    It is my opinion (meaning I have not rigorously researched it) that politicians in office today are there because of power based on social networks they developed a generation or more previously. Two generations ago, 1940, America was primarily a rural low-population density nation based mostly on agricultural production. The founding fathers were rural planters. But the entire population born since 1940 has moved to cities. ALL of them! That's where the best paying jobs are.

    But the institutional political power did not instantly follow the population. The rural politicians remained in office based on their existing social networks ("It's who you know!") But other than some troglodytes like Paul Ryan, those rural-based politicians are now retiring and leaving office, except in the American South or the middle states like Missouri which remain low-population density and agricultural with few large cities. Note that the large cities tend to vote Democratic even there. (Suburbs seem to be no-man's land. I suspect the older, close to the city suburbs are tending toward urban culture and politics.)

    California made the jump to an urban political system in the 90's, but the then-existing rural politicians had created the institutional barrier of the 2/3rd majority to pass a new budget. The rural minority retained veto power. This year may have broken that. Another example of the rural retention of power is the conservative domination of the House of Representatives this year. It's based on gerrymandering, not on the majority of votes. Because the Constitution weights power to the smaller (rural) states, domination of the rural states can give the conservatives control of the House when they can no longer with the Presidency or the Senate.

    I'm not sure why urban voters don't turn out to vote as much as rural voters, except possibly because they (a) don't feel like they can control state and national decisions because they have for so long been electorally repressed or perhaps they simply accept the state and national politics as a given and don't care what happens at the national social distance from what is important to them personally. There are other possibilities, I am sure.

    If the Obama coalition is tapping into this set of trends and upsetting whatever the factors that limit urban voters from voting, then we are watching a real electoral revolution happen right now.

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